Jeff Lewis
No. 8
Personal information
Born:(1973-04-17)April 17, 1973
Columbus, Ohio
Died:January 5, 2013(2013-01-05) (aged 39)
Phoenix, Arizona
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:211 lb (96 kg)
Career information
High school:Phoenix (AZ) Horizon
College:Northern Arizona
NFL Draft:1996 / Round: 4 / Pick: 100
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Passing yards:210
Career Arena statistics
Passing yards:344
Player stats at · PFR ·

Jeffrey Scott Lewis (April 17, 1973 – January 5, 2013) was an American football quarterback in the National Football League for the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers. He played college football at Northern Arizona University.

Early years

Lewis attended Horizon High School where he was an All-conference and All-city selection in football, baseball and basketball. He gained over 1,000 rushing yards in his last 2 seasons in football. As a senior in baseball, he batted for a .492 average and tallied a 3-1 record as a pitcher.

He accepted a scholarship from Northern Arizona University, where he became a four-year starter at quarterback (41 straight starts) and a three-time team captain. After being redshirted in 1991, he finished his college career with 785 completions of 1,315 passes for 9,655 yards and 67 touchdowns. At the time he was second on the school's all-time list in passing yards (9,655), completions (785), attempts (1,316), pass completion percentage (59.7) and touchdowns (67).[1] He also set the NCAA Division I-AA career record for interception avoidance (1.82).

In 2003, he was inducted into the Northern Arizona Athletics Hall of Fame.[2]

Professional career

Denver Broncos

Lewis was selected by the Denver Broncos in the fourth round (100th overall) of the 1996 draft. As a rookie, he was the third-string quarterback. The next year, he was named the backup behind John Elway and was seen as the heir apparent to the future hall of famer.[3]

In 1998, he was lost for the season after tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament while playing a pickup basketball game and made matters worse by hiding how he suffered the injury.[4]

He fell out of favor with head coach Mike Shanahan and was traded to the Carolina Panthers, in exchange for a 1999 third round (#67-Chris Watson) and a 2000 fourth round draft choice (#112-Cooper Carlisle) on March 1, 1999.[5]

Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers acquired Lewis in 1999, because new head coach George Seifert saw potential in Lewis' athletic ability and wanted to eventually replace starter Steve Beuerlein.[6]

In 2001, Lewis was named the starter after Beuerlein was released. He had a bad preseason, including a game where he threw three interceptions in four attempts,[7] which eventually led to him be released on August 31.[8] Rookie Chris Weinke was given the starter job and proceeded to go 1-15 during the regular season.

New Orleans Saints

On February 19, 2002, he signed as a free agent with the New Orleans Saints.[9] He was released on August 19.[10]

Colorado Crush

On January 30, 2003, he was signed by the Colorado Crush of the Arena Football League. He was promoted to the active roster on April 4.[11]

Personal life

Lewis died on January 5, 2013, at his home in Phoenix, Arizona. An autopsy revealed the cause of death was an accidental drug overdose caused by a mix of morphine and zolpidem (Ambien).[12] At the time of his death, he was the wide receivers coach at Northern Arizona, after serving at Louisville as an offensive administrative assistant from 2007 to 2008 and wide receivers coach in 2009. He had one son, Elijah Jaymes.[13]


  1. ^ "Northern Arizona : NAU Mourns the Loss of Hall of Famer and Assistant Football Coach Jeff Lewis". Archived from the original on 2016-08-15. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  2. ^ "NAU assistant coach Jeff Lewis dies". Associated Press/YahooSports. 2013-01-05. Archived from the original on 2013-01-09. Retrieved 2013-01-10.
  3. ^ "Lewis Replacing His Role Model". Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  4. ^ "Lewis Stews As Broncos Add Griese". Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  5. ^ "3-Time Pro Bowl Guard Gogan Traded to Miami". Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  6. ^ "Lewis waiting in the wings should the Panthers trade Beuerlein". Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  7. ^ "Weinke Sparks Panthers' Win". Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  8. ^ "Seifert, Panthers Give Up On Lewis". Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  9. ^ "Saints sign QB Lewis". Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  10. ^ "Transactions". Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  11. ^ "Colorado Crush Historical Team Transactions". Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  12. ^ Person, Joseph (16 April 2013). "Former Panthers player died of drug overdose, autopsy shows". Charlotte Observer. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  13. ^ "Jeff Lewis: Northern Arizona". Archived from the original on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2014-02-12.